Posts Tagged ‘LGBTQ’

Letter from Claverack 02 04 2017 Mine eyes dazzle…

February 5, 2017

It is Saturday night at the cottage.  “Swing Jazz” is playing on my Echo, the floodlights illuminate the creek and I am cozy in the cottage.  A load of dishes is in the dishwasher and I have spent the day, partially working, running a few errands.  Every week I try to buy some canned goods for the food pantry at the church and bring them in on Sunday.  That was one of today’s errands.

When I finish this, I will rehearse the readings for tomorrow as I am lector at Christ Church tomorrow.  It all feels very hygge. [Pronounced hoo-ga; the Danish word for living a cozy life.]  It seems the best time of all to be hygge, what with everything that is happening around us in dizzying array.

Honestly, right now, I am not sure who’s on first.  The refugee ban seems to have been lifted with the ban on immigrants from the seven predominantly Muslim countries.  Or is it?  I am doing my best to keep up and it’s hard.  Really hard…

I think President Trump hung up on the Australian Prime Minister.  Mine eyes dazzle.

And then President Trump told Putin that sanctions remain until he leaves Ukraine which is not what I think Putin was thinking would happen.  Putin did a few “provocative” actions in Ukraine this past week [thing what you can do with artillery] that ended badly for him.  The pro-Russian rebels were rebuffed by the Ukrainians.  And The Donald rebuked him.

Or perhaps it was Steve Bannon, who appears to be becoming the Lord Chancellor to King Donald.  Time Magazine has a frightening portrait of the man on its cover.  It is feared this is the man who is pulling the strings. Look here.

Apparently, per reports, Kelly, the Secretary of Homeland Security, had to remind Steve Bannon, he only takes orders from the President when Bannon was bossing Kelly around.

Oh, just gosh…

Kellyanne Conway, the most skillful swinger of truths encountered this side of Paradise, is being skewered everywhere as she justified the travel ban by referring to the “Bowling Green Massacre.”  Well, a couple of men were arrested in Bowling Green for attempting to aid and abet terrorists but there was no “Bowling Green Massacre.”  She is saying she misspoke one word and is being eviscerated by “haters.”

Must say, mine eyes dazzle.

The king of Executive Orders, our Donald, is now issuing one that will roll back Dodd-Frank, the regulations that were to save us from another meltdown like 2008.  Carpe diem!

While most of me is horrified by the political spectacle around me, there is another part that is amused.  In a gallows humor sort of way, which is not a good way.  Most of the American public is not amused.  President Trump’s approval ratings aren’t good.

Well, who approves of chaos and confusion and flirting with unconstitutionality?

Ethicists are appalled at the flimsiness of Trump’s separation from his business interests.

And all of this is hurting his business interests and those of Ivanka.  Nordstrom’s has dropped the Ivanka Trump line.  In an earlier post, I mentioned I was at Lord & Taylor on 5th Avenue and there was no one in the Ivanka Trump section.  Last time I was there, there was no Ivanka Trump section to be found.  Poof! Gone.

And, frankly, I have grown a little fond of Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner.  It is rumored they weighed in with The Donald and prevented him from signing an Executive Order that would have stripped the LGBTQ community of rights they had received under the Obama Administration.

On the other hand, it is, I’m sure, not making Steve Bannon happy.  Nor is it making happy the evangelicals who supported Trump despite his raunchiness.

Me?  A gay man.  I’m pleased.  Woo! Saved for another day.

Truly, I’m just a little bit scared.  And a little bit amused.  And a whole lot unhappy.

So, now it is time to return to hygge.  I’ll make myself a martini and finish reading “The Romanovs,” a six hundred plus page book outlining the rise and fall of the world’s longest ruling dynasty.  That’s a saga and it didn’t end well, as we all know.

May all this end well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letter From Claverack 01 15 2017 Bemused but not amused…

January 15, 2017

It is early evening in Claverack; the lights have been turned on over the creek and I have asked Alexa to play the “Pop Classical” station so music is filling the cottage.  It is an idyllic night after a very nice day.

Waking before the alarm this morning, I cleared my email inboxes, showered and gathered things together for the food pantry at the church.  Post church, I went to the Red Dot and then to Ca’Mea to meet Larry and Alicia and it was a pleasant country afternoon.

Against the backdrop of the pleasant country afternoon is a tension about the political scene.

One of my neighbors, who, when he met me was a bit uncomfortable with me and who has become a very good friend, asked me why the LGBTQ community was concerned about Trump.  He voted for neither Hillary or The Donald, loathing them equally.

My response was that it wasn’t so much Trump’s views on gays but the views of the people who are around him.  Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana until Friday, then Vice President of the United States, worked to enact strident laws that jeopardized the rights of gays in his state.  Jeff Sessions, who is by all accounts is a gentleman of the first order in social situations, is homophobic, anti-immigration and anti some other important things.

My friend had no idea. And was concerned when he heard this.

Representative John Lewis of Georgia, a legendary figure in the Civil Rights movement, is not attending Trump’s inauguration because he does not feel Trump in a legitimate President.  I find that unfortunate and counterproductive.

And I find unfortunate and counterproductive Donald Trump’s Twitter storm against Representative Lewis, demeaning his part in the Civil Rights movement.  The man nearly lost his life on the bridge into Selma.  To denigrate him as Trump has is unfortunate and not in keeping with someone who is about to enter the highest office in the land.

Stephen Colbert discussed “truthiness.”  Donald Trump exercised a bit of it in his depiction of Representative Lewis’ district as crime ridden.  In fact, he represents one of the most affluent areas of Atlanta.

There is a good part of me that is sitting back and watching what is happening unfold with a sense of wonder, a sense of OMG is this real?  And it is…

Every time I turn around, I am astounded by our President Elect.

His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is going to be a Senior Advisor.  Is there not something somewhere about nepotism?  Ivanka may be the de facto First Lady as Melania seems to be content to remain in Trump Tower.

Who is this person?

Andy Borowitz, comedian and raconteur, described him as the “Kremlin Employee of the Month.”

The awful thing is that he MIGHT be.

The VERY unsubstantiated report about his actions with the Russians are, at one time, very amusing and incredibly disconcerting.  It has spawned a cottage industry in defining “golden showers.”

Right now, I am sitting back and watching it unfold.  Called me bemused, call me amused, call me frightened, call me whatever you like and I think we need to go back into the early 19th century to find anything similar.

Oh, wow!

And I will continue to watch with a carefully bemused eye that is also carefully turned on to what the new President might do as he needs, more than most Presidents, to be held accountable.

Please help with that.  Please.

 

 

Letter From New York 07 13 2016 Picture Perfect Summer Day

July 13, 2016

The leaves are being jostled by a light wind that tempers the warmth of the afternoon here at the cottage.  The creek is reflecting back the images of the trees overhanging its banks.  Occasionally, a trout will slide through the water.  The only noise is the distant sound of a small plane heading toward the little airport north of me.

I have been ensconced here for several hours now, earlier sipping tea and now a Diet Coke.  It is the perfect day for sitting on my deck, overlooking the creek, reading and thinking.  It reminds me of a childhood sweet summer day back in Minnesota, when I was young and the days seemed to last forever.  It is a day that is demanding very little from me and I am embracing the lack of demand.

The gentle wind and soft warmth cry out to be savored, embraced, enjoyed and I am opening my arms to them.IMG_1325

As I have sat here this morning, David Cameron has left 10 Downing Street, gone to Buckingham Palace, met the Queen and formerly resigned. Theresa May, who is promising a “bold, new” future for Britain, is the newest Prime Minister to serve Her Majesty, the thirteenth in a line that began with Winston Churchill.

Obama spoke in Dallas yesterday, yet again, after the tragic murders of human beings.  He was eloquent and spoke of hope in the darkness and yet I heard tiredness and pain in the clips I have heard.  He has had to do this so many times in his two terms; the most heartbreaking was after Newtown.

As I think of dark times, the sky has darkened over me, causing me to wonder if my part of the world will begin to weep?

A social media storm has broken out over former President George W. Bush’s behavior during a rendition of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” at the Dallas Memorial yesterday.   Judge for yourself:

http://gawker.com/what-exactly-was-going-on-with-george-w-bush-at-the-me-1783551893

We all have different responses to grief…

I am getting older, as are all of us, and it seems to be weighing heavily on Japan’s Emperor.  Akihito is 82 and reports are saying he feels his health is getting in the way of his duty and that he might abdicate soon in favor of the 56 year old Crown Prince Naruhito.

China is saber rattling about the South China Sea after the International Court in The Hague ruled that China had violated the rights of the Philippines there with its harassment of sailors and fishermen.  China rejects the ruling.  Several countries, including Viet Nam, have territorial claims to the energy rich South China Sea, all of which are rebuffed by the Chinese.

In other cheery international news, Russia and NATO are bumping heads again after NATO announced it is moving 4,000 troops into the Baltic to form a bulwark against the Russians.  They form a security threat, says Russia, and both sides are getting more intractable, as the months go on since Russia reclaimed the Crimea.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if people said:  we have a problem here.  How can we solve it?  Days like today bring out my childhood naïveté.

Trump is looking at candidates to be his Vice Presidential nominee and having them meet with his family.  They include, Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana, Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and Chris Christie, lame duck Governor of New Jersey.

Last night, three more men were shot, this time in Norfolk, Virginia.  Two are improving, one remains critical.  All were black.

A year ago, a white teenager named Zachary Hammond was killed by police bullets during a drug investigation.  His parents are wondering why no one ever took up the cry about his death.  I wonder too…

The Republican platform is devotedly anti-LGBTQ.  A few efforts to change that have been beaten back.  The GOP is going to be what the GOP has been the last few decades.

The day is swinging toward a close.  I have run a few errands, brought in the garbage cans and am looking forward to continuing this place magical day into the evening.

Letter From New York 06 18 2016 via The Vineyard

June 18, 2016

It has been five days since I’ve written a “Letter.”  I’ve done some other writing but nothing that faced the world in which we live.  The death of Jo Cox, a Member of Britain’s Parliament, murdered in her district affected me deeply, a tearing of the barely forming Orlando scar off my physic skin.

Her name was vaguely familiar.  The man who has been arrested for her murder apparently shouted “Britain first!” repeatedly as he shot and stabbed her.  She was campaigning against “Brexit,” the vote for which will happen next week.

When arraigned, John Mair, the alleged killer, gave his name as “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain.” 

A man described as gentle by his neighbors, he suffered mental health issues, assuaging them with volunteer work.  He also was in some way affiliated with a neo-Nazi group out of America.

Jo Cox’s death affected me because… 

Because it was one more example of the politics of hate in which we are all mired, because it happened in Britain where political verbal vitriol has been honed to a fine edge but where rarely are political differences manifested in physical actions.  Perhaps over football but not politics. 

And that is probably an Anglophile’s rose colored glasses view of British politics but it does seem rarer there that they have such events as Orlando, much rarer.

In the days following Orlando, a California pastor preached that all LGBTQ folks should meet the same end as the Orlando victims.  We should all be killed off.  It is not the first time in my life I have heard people call for the slaughter of the LGBTQ community but it seemed more painful this time.  We have come so far from when I was a boy.

On Thursday, in a conversation with my friends, Medora and Meryl, I told them that it was on how far we have come that I had to choose to focus or my sadness would be unbearable.  It had seemed an impossibility that in my lifetime gay individuals could exercise the right to wed.  And now we can.

I did not think in my lifetime I could speak openly of my feelings to friends who were not of my own community.

Yet these things have happened.  In my little world of Columbia County, New York I have seen the changes over the fifteen years I have been there, the opening of the community and the general acceptance by “locals” to outsiders and to outsiders were “different.”

We think the world is changing and changing for the better and then there is an Orlando, ripping at the sense of safety creeping into the world.  And then come the stories of people who remain fearful, even in New York, because a show of same sex affection could mean violence.

Only since Orlando have I come to know that the LGBTQ community is, far and away, the group that is most likely to experience hate crimes.

There seems to be some movement about more control over assault rifles. One small step, one hopes.  I had thought there would have been movement on that after the slaughter of the innocents in Newtown.  There wasn’t but now there might be.

Young Christina Grimmie, a “The Voice” alum who was shot to death last Friday by a deranged fan who then killed himself, was buried yesterday.  She, too, was killed in Orlando.

Disney there has been putting out signs to warn tourists about crocodiles and snakes after a two year old was hauled off and killed by a crocodile last week, an adorable young boy.

In Nigeria, eighteen have been killed by Boko Haram.

Belgians have arrested twelve in “terror raids” and Iraqi forces say they have retaken most of Fallujah.

Where have all the flowers gone?

To graveyards, every one…

I am sad but am choosing, must choose, not to feel hopeless and powerless.  It is beautiful outside, another in a day of beautiful days on Martha’s Vineyard.  The world is better than it has been, in many ways.  And I must remind myself of that.Vineyard View 2